Arsenal boss Arteta blames positioning for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggles

Mikel Arteta has blamed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s struggles on his side’s attacking positioning.

The 31-year-old striker has scored 22 Premier League goals in each of his two full seasons since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund, but only managed to net twice in seven outings so far this campaign.

Following the 3-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday evening, the Spaniard has opened up on how he has been working to try and create more opportunities for his star striker in open play.

"A team function is a collective thing that we have to do more," Arteta said after the defeat.

"We certainly are getting in some situations, but the end product is something we have to improve and about the position and his movement and where we can find him.

“Of course we can talk about is this the right or wrong place for him, but when things were working and he was scoring that debate wasn’t there.

"What is certain is that with these numbers, scoring this amount of goals is impossible to fight with the top teams so we have to maintain the numbers that we have defensively in our organisation.

“For sure we have to improve our numbers attacking-wise if we want to be challenging and if you want to be consistent in winning football matches."

Asked whether a change of attacking positioning was something he was thinking about, Arteta replied ahead of the international break: "Yes, for sure. We do that every week.

"You know, [look at] how we can get into better positions in the final third, with certain numbers in the positions that have to be occupied all the time.

"The same for how we control the transition moments after not finishing that action when the ball leaves that box. Certainly, as you said, we will look at that again and try to modify certain things to try and get better like we always do."

The former Manchester City coach told Sky Sports of his overall disappointment: "First of all congratulations to Aston Villa for the way they played and the victory.

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"After that, we performed below our standards and I have to say it's the first time I've seen us play and we weren't a team. I take full responsibility.

“We didn't start well enough, we got away with VAR for an offside situation but we lost all the races, the duels and we were sloppy on the ball. When we created chances we didn't hit the target.

“It's a really bad combination. We left spaces and on the counter we looked really vulnerable.”

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